How to measure social-network ad spending efficiency?

RetailWire panelists recently discussed the “slippery slope” of social networking spending, and whether it’s possible to gauge measurable results in the same way as “old media.” Here’s my point of view:

It’s feasible to gauge the ROI of social-networking efforts, not necessarily in terms of spending as a percentage of sales but by looking at other measurable attributes. For example, what sort of top-of-mind awareness exists among the “networking” target customer? What sorts of brand associations, and are they positive or negative? And, most importantly, what sort of “conversion rate” among the target audience using social networking, to see whether they move from being part of a community to part of an active customer base? It’s harder to quantify the outcome vs. traditional means of advertising your product or service, but critically important as younger consumers migrate to this type of marketing message.



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